ten major writings ［十大部］ ( jūdai-bu): Ten treatises written by Nichiren and later designated by Nikkō (1246–1333), Nichiren’s disciple and successor, as his most important writings. In chronological order of writing, they are: (1) On Reciting the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra (Shōhokke-daimoku-shō), written at Nagoe in Kamakura and dated the twenty-eighth day of the fifth month, 1260. In a series of fifteen questions and answers, it establishes the supremacy of the Lotus Sutra over the provisional teachings and describes the benefits of chanting the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It explains that this is the teaching and practice for attaining Buddhahood in the Latter Day of the Law. The addressee of the treatise is unknown.
(2) On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land (Risshō-ankoku-ron), submitted in remonstration to the retired but virtual regent, Hōjō Tokiyori, on the sixteenth day of the seventh month, 1260. Written in the form of a dialogue between a host and a visitor, it attributes the disasters befalling the nation to slander of the Lotus Sutra and belief in false forms of Buddhism, particularly the Pure Land (Jōdo) school. It predicts that two further disasters, internal strife and foreign invasion, will occur if the country continues its support of mistaken teachings and priests.
(3) The Opening of the Eyes (Kaimoku-shō), written at Tsukahara on Sado Island, where Nichiren was in exile, and completed in the second month of 1272. Nichiren wrote this treatise for all his followers and entrusted it to Shijō Kingo. Using the three virtues of sovereign, teacher, and parent as a standard, it first compares Confucianism, Brahmanism, and Buddhism, and then the various levels of Buddhist teachings, finally revealing the three virtues of the Buddhism of sowing. It also reveals that the teaching that enables all people in the Latter Day of the Law to attain Buddhahood is found in the depths of the “Life Span” (sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. It concludes that Nichiren is perfectly endowed with the three virtues of the Buddha in the Latter Day of the Law. Therefore, it is known as the work that defines the object of devotion in Nichiren’s teaching in terms of the Person (in contrast with the Law).
(4) The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind (Kanjin-no-honzon-shō), written at Ichinosawa on Sado Island and dated the twenty-fifth day of the fourth month, 1273. It was entrusted to Toki Jōnin. It is known as the work that defines the object of devotion in Nichiren’s teaching in terms of the Law (in contrast with the Person), because it sets forth the theoretical basis for the Gohonzon, or the mandala that Nichiren inscribed as the object of devotion for attaining Buddhahood in the Latter Day. It teaches the principle that embracing the Gohonzon is in itself observing one’s mind, or attaining enlightenment.
(5) Choosing the Heart of the Lotus Sutra (Hokke-shuyō-shō), dated the fifth month of 1274 at Minobu and given to Toki Jōnin. It defines Nam-myoho-renge-kyo of the Three Great Secret Laws, which is the essence of the Lotus Sutra, as the object of devotion for all people in the Latter Day of the Law.
(6) The Selection of the Time (Senji-shō), written at Minobu in 1275 and given to Yui of Nishiyama in Suruga Province. It explains that there is a correct teaching for each of the three periods of the Former Day, Middle Day, and Latter Day of the Law, and that, in the Latter Day, the great pure Law implicit in the “Life Span” (sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra should and will be propagated.
(7) On Repaying Debts of Gratitude (Hō’on-shō), written at Minobu and dated the twenty-first day of the seventh month, 1276. Nichiren wrote this treatise in appreciation for his late teacher Dōzen-bō and sent it to the priests Jōken-bō and Gijō-bō, his former seniors at Seichō-ji temple in Awa Province when he studied there as a youth. It discusses the meaning of repaying debts of gratitude in the light of Buddhism, especially to one’s teacher, and concludes that the way to requite such obligations fully is to embrace and propagate the Three Great Secret Laws.
(8) On the Four Stages of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice (Shishin-gohon-shō), dated the tenth day of the fourth month, 1277, at Minobu and sent to Toki Jōnin. It discusses the four stages of faith and the five stages of practice formulated by T’ien-t’ai based on the “Distinctions in Benefits” (seventeenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, and defines the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as the direct way to enlightenment in the Latter Day of the Law.
(9) Letter to Shimoyama (Shimoyama-goshōsoku), written at Minobu in the sixth month of 1277 and addressed to Shimoyama Hyōgo Gorō Mitsumoto, the steward of Shimoyama in Kai Province. Inaba-bō Nichiei, one of Nichiren’s disciples in Shimoyama, had tried to convert Mitsumoto, his father (his lord, according to another account), and met with extreme opposition. Nichiren wrote this treatise to the steward under Inaba-bō’s name and on his behalf. It points out the errors of the various schools and their deleterious effect upon the nation, outlines Nichiren’s teachings and the rationale for his activities, and urges Mitsumoto to abandon the Pure Land teachings and take faith in the Lotus Sutra.
(10) Questions and Answers on the Object of Devotion (Honzon-mondō-shō), written at Minobu in the ninth month of 1278 and sent to Jōken-bō at Seichō-ji temple. It refutes the objects of devotion of the various schools, particularly those of the True Word (Shingon) school, and establishes in the light of the sutras that the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, should be the object of devotion in the Latter Day of the Law.